Colorado’s unemployment rate improves to 7.4% as more people return to work after coronavirus cuts |

Colorado’s unemployment rate improves to 7.4% as more people return to work after coronavirus cuts

There are still 300,000 Coloradans on unemployment

Tamara Chung / Colorado Sun
Cristos Coffee barista Sophia Athanasoulis, 16, prepares a beverage for a customer on May 1, 2020. She's one of a dozen workers at the shop, located on the Weld County side of Erie, Colorado. Co-owner Grace Hardy said she was able to keep all of her workers on the job during the coronavirus shutdown.
Dana Coffield, The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.4% in July, a significant improvement over the month before as people head back to work after coronavirus-related cuts, according to data from state officials.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported a revised unemployment rate of 10.6% in June. 

State data shows that 11,000 people returned to their jobs — or any job — in July, which ended the month with 2.85 million Coloradans employed.

More than one third of nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February to April have been added back. The return of 134,200 jobs is a 39.2% recovery rate, which is less than the 41.9% nationwide. 

In July, the industries with the most significant gains were leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation and utilities. 

It’s been a rough return from early coronavirus pandemic closures. At one point after the disease hit Colorado, more than 100,000 people filed an unemployment claim for the first time in one week.

And at last count, there are still nearly 300,000 Coloradans receiving unemployment benefits on an ongoing basis. 

Some parts of the state were harder hit than others. The counties with the highest unemployment rates in July were Gilpin, at 12%; Summit, at 10.1% and Huerfano, at 9.9%. 

But new claims have been in decline mostly since spring, with the latest data showing 6,942 made a first-time regular unemployment claim during the week ending Aug. 15. 

The nation’s unemployment rate also declined, but by just nine-tenths of a percentage point to 10.2% in July. Before the pandemic, Colorado’s unemployment rate had hit a record low of 2.5% in January and February.

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